Thursday, August 2, 2007

First Update in Forever

So I haven't written an entry in here in forever, and I figured I would go ahead and write about some things that have happened since my last post.

Anthony and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary on April 10, and we are still together and happy as ever. What's funny is that neither of us look like the picture I have as my background anymore, lol. Anthony has a white-man-fro and wears his glasses; and my hair looks like a super long version of Aaron Gillespie's, lol. We are still engaged and we plan to get married in November of 2010. I know that sounds like a long way off, but that gives me 6 months after I graduate college to get settled. Anthony should graduate next December (2008), which will give him almost 2 full years to get settled. He has the job of finding us a place to live and then living in it until I can move it. I'm going to be decorating it, since he doesn't want to. We've discovered that some things in relationships are just better left to one partner or the other. Decorating our first apartment and picking out furniture is best left to me. Most men aren't exactly naturals at picking coordinating bed linens, lol.

I only have two Wednesdays left in the epiCENTER...EVER!!! I have a night class from 7:30-8:45 on Monday and Wednesday nights the whole fall semester, and in September Trey is splitting the high school and college ministries; which means he's kicking anyone over 18 out of the epiCENTER on Wednesdays. The epiCENTER is the whole reason I kept going to that church. I've been there for over 3 1/2 years, and it's going to be hard to say goodbye. I don't really like the Sunday services there, so I'd venture to say that if I don't take to the College & Career crowd, I may be on the hunt for a new church. And as charismatic and independent and Holy Ghost speakin' as I am, that probably won't be easy.

At school, I will be a sophomore at the University of South Alabama (GO JAGS!) this fall, and I LOVE college! I'm sure once I get closer to the end I'll be tired of it and be ready to leave, but at the moment I am absolutely adicted to it. I've been having some Greek life woes, however, because (as you can see from my last entry) I joined and left a sorority. But they really want me back and keep telling me the doors are always open for me, so anytime I get the whim to want to go back, they come running with open arms. I love my girls, and I REALLY want to be an Alpha Gam, but I'm just not sure I can handle the huge amount of time, money, and energy that's required of you if you join. Plus Anthony doesn't really like the idea of me joining again, because he's afraid that if I spend too much time with them, I won't spend any with him. So I keep flip-flopping back and forth, wondering what I should do, thinking and praying and hoping I can figure this out before the next phone call from my sister-mother.

I'm having some money woes, because I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. Sure it's student loans and I don't have to start paying them back until 6 months after I graduate, but every now and then I'll pay some interest on it. Just yesterday I payed almost $400 of interest, and I do that all the time, and I'm not sure how long I can keep it up. I haven't even started in on the principle yet. Plus I don't have alot of cash on me right now and I have to go today to buy new clothes for the new school year, and gas is back on the rise again, and my mom owes me almost $500 that she still hasn't payed me back yet, and I buy alot of my own groceries now, and I'm gonna have to buy around $500 worth of books within the next week or two, etc. I'm a mess worrying about money.

At work I'm getting ready to get swamped with the overflow of site maintainence and updates and redesigns that comes with the beginning of a new school year. I'm already feeling the pressure and it's still summer, and I'm working 6 hours a day. When school starts I get pushed back to 4 hours a day (which also means less and I have to cram all that extra work into that tiny space. Yeah, I'm not looking forward to it. I just pray I survive and don't get too overwhelmed. This job is experience in a relevant field to my major (in fact, I'm doing now what I want to do for the rest of my life - web design) and it pays good money, plus it's on campus (making it easy to work between classes); so I can't lose or quit this job. When the going gets tough around here, I just have to get tougher.

Anyway, I think that's pretty much a thorough rundown of what's going on in my life right now. So, back to work now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Name is Amanda, and I'm a Picky Eater

Earlier today my mom had made some spaghetti for dinner, but she made it with meat sauce. I took one bite, realized it, and stopped eating. My mom went on a rant about how it was ridiculous and how you couldn't even taste the meat in the sauce. I wanted to tell her that it was all about texture, but no one ever understands that.

I have a genuine eating disorder. I normally try to keep it a secret, I don't like eating in public, I make excuses about why I eat the same thing everywhere I go, I have to have a routine to my eating, if I don't like a food I'll go hungry before I eat it, and I try to avoid situations where I know I'll be expected to eat something I don't like. If you ever hear me say, "No thanks, I'm just not hungry," chances are I'm lying to you. Either that, or I've eaten something beforehand so I wouldn't have to lie.

Getting to the point, I've found this online support group for picky eating adults. I read one guy's story and I agree with most of the points he made about his disorder. I thought I'd copy and paste what I liked from his here and add some of my own. Why am I posting about something I'm embarrassed about and normally try to hide? Because it's easier if I just get it off my chest.


I'm an Adult Picky Eater. I have a big secret that I guard and keep from all but my closest friends and family. I have been this way my entire life and can never remember ever eating like normal people. My parents have told me that I was a very well behaved child and my picky eating was the only real problem they ever had with me.

Now don't get me wrong, I do like the foods I eat. Most of what I eat is very bland. You may find it hard to believe how much taste I get from what I eat. Perhaps I'm a super taster. Texture of the food is very important to me. I like most of the things I eat crisp and crunchy. As an example one of my favorite foods is McDonald's french-fries. In fact I not only love fries, I also love plain potato chips. Now a mashed potato is bad because it's mushy. I don't like corn on the cob, but I love corn chips and popcorn.

I also have issues with things being plain and simple. I love vanilla and chocolate ice cream. But if you put other things into it I get turned off. Give me plain M & M's but not the kind with nuts. I want what I eat to be plain. Very complex foods generally turn me off. I have trouble sorting out in my mouth what's in the more advanced dishes.

I do like to drink plain and chocolate milk, cola's and other soft drinks, and the colder all of these beverages are the better I like it. There is a small exception that I'll make for flavored sodas like Vanilla Coke or Jones Sodas.

Thin is always better than thick. I love American Cheese sliced very thin. If the cheese is in block form it could make me gag. Oh that brings up my problem with swallowing. If I have to chew on something too long it will make me gag and my stomach contents might come up for air. I don't like most other types of cheese. Being able to eat a grilled cheese sandwich has saved my life at many restaurants. But please don't put that darn pickle on top of my grilled cheese sandwich.

The only meat I can eat is thin sliced crisp bacon. I don't like it under cooked and never thick sliced. Other meats are just too hard to chew and I don't like the flavor I get from them.

My parents and others always used to use the whole "try it, you'll like it" and "if you don't try it you'll never know" cliches on me. I threw up or gagged up every single time, and they finally quit doing it.

When someone tries to make me try something new, I get anxious or even scared. I will do anything it takes to keep something I'm not gonna like out of my mouth, because I'm not a big fan of puking. I'm sure this all sounds exaggerated, but I promise you it's not.

I eat zero veggies. A salad with salad dressing is really out of bounds for me. I just hate tomatoes, but I love tomato sauces. Ranch taste is awful and you can forget about pepper and Tabasco sauce. When I'm around someone eating something with a strong smell, I can get sick. Now here is something really strange: just the name of something can turn me off. I'm not kidding.

I just hate food-focused get togethers, especially Thanksgiving. I can remember bad things happening to me on that day as a child. While others in my family looked forward to these times I would dread them for weeks before they came around.

I'm a success in life. I work as a professional, and I am earning my college degree. I strive very hard to make up for my shortcomings when it comes to eating. I have had several relationships end because of my eating problems. Nothing hurts more than knowing someone doesn't want you anymore because of your eating disorder. I think some of those relationships are the reason I got into self-injuring back in the day, particularly food deprivation.

I would like to be able to eat more foods, but there's nothing that can make me like more foods. You could force me to eat salmon every day for every meal for the rest of my life, and I'm never going to like it. In fact, I'd probably die young from the damage to my stomach lining and esophagus from excesive vommitting.

So the moral is, please be patient with me if we're ever in a situation where we have to eat together. I'm already ashamed when we sit down at the table.


Reasons for Picky Eating:

1. OCD
2. Swallowing Disorder
3. Brain Function Disorder
4. Food Aversions
5. Taste and Smell Disorder
6. Super Tasters
7. Sensory Integration Disorder
8. Some children use it to control parents
9. Autism
10. Tourettes Syndrome
11. Neophobia
12. Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum

I think the one common thread that I and those I have met with similar problems is that our brains don't think of many foods as food. Generally, the more complex the food, the less likely any of us are to eat it. And that's why it truly should be a recognized eating disorder.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What I Want in a Man

This is a list of everything I could possibly want in a man. This list describes what I want in my perfect mate, and a relationship with this man will last forever. This is the man I will marry, and this is the man I love. I hope my man is reading this and realizing just how perfect he is.

I want a man who is a Christian. I want him to love God, believe that Jesus Christ died for his sins, be saved, be going to heaven, read his Bible, and pray at least once a day. I want him to go to church at least once a week, but I don't care how involved he is there. I want him to have faith, not religion, and I don't want him to be fake or flaky with his Christianity.

I want a man who is faithful and loyal. I want him to want me and me alone. I want him to trust me, and I want him to show me that I can trust him. I want him to be so in love with me that he doesn't even think about other women anymore. I want him to be 100% honest with me 100% of the time. I want him to tell me all of his secrets, not keep them from me. I want him to want to take care of me. I want him to want to spend the rest of his life with me.

I want a man who is patient and understanding. I want him to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. I want him to take the time to listen and understand my problems. I want him to be patient with me when I make a mistake. I want him to understand and be patient with all of my quirks and annoying habits; things like the fact that I'm a crazy picky eater who can't swim and has a deathly fear of sharp objects of all shapes and sizes including dinner knives.

I want a man who is emotionally well-balanced. I want him to be sensitive, but not so much so that I feel like I have to constantly walk on eggshells to keep from hurting his feelings. I want him to be confident in himself, but not so much so that he comes across as a self-righteous jerk. I want him to be open with me about his feelings, but I don't want him to be depressed all the time.

I want a man who treats me with respect. I want him to respect my body, respect my mind, respect my faith, and respect my abilities. I want him to think I am worth the wait. I want him to treat me like a lady. I want him to respect my family and his as much as he respects me. I want him to be respectful to people in general.

I want a man who makes me feel special. I want him to get excited when I call him or send him a text message or leave him a wall post on Facebook. I want him to get butterflies in his stomach when I walk into the room. I want him to feel happy when I smile at him. I want him to be attracted to me. I want him to think I'm the most beautiful girl in the world. I want him to try to make me feel special by doing things for me or telling me how much I mean to him or telling me how pretty I am. I want him to make me a V.I.P. in his life. I want to know things about him that no one else knows, I want to see a side of him that no one else sees, I want to share things with him that no one else shares, and I want him to share those things with me because I am special to him.

I want a man who loves me first and my body second. I want him to love me for who I am, what I believe in, how I act, how I talk, my likes and dislikes, and my personality. I want him to emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually love me. I want him to think I'm beautiful, but I want that to be a bonus to him; I don't want him to want my body but not my mind. I want him to want both.

I want a man who loves me with every fiber of his being. I want him to love me heart, body, and mind. I want him to want me so bad he can't stand it. I want him to miss me like crazy when we're not together. I want him to tell me everyday just how much he loves me, and I want that to take a long time. I want him to love me enough to want to marry me, take care of me, and raise a family with me. I want him to love me so much that he can't picture his future without me in it. I want him to love me so much he can't even put it into words to tell me how much he loves me. I want him to love me until the day I die and forever after that.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Did You Take Me Out of Your Mind?

Well, today I am working 6 hours and I literally finished all my assignments in 21 minutes, so I'm going to write a really long note about some things that have been weighing on me. I know no one will probably read it, but I desperately want everyone to, because I think it will help people understand me better.

I know I can come across as not wanting people to be around me, or I can give the impression that I don't want to talk to people. But that's completely not the case, and I wish I could figure out how to stop making it seem that way. It's just in my personality to be introverted, when all I really want is to be extroverted and friendly. I have tried alot of different things to make some friends since I started college. Not just acquaintances who maybe wave at me as they walk by--I have a ton of those. I mean real friends--the kind you trust with your secrets, the kind you call to cheer you up when you're sad, the kind that call you at 3 in the morning to cry about their big break up, the kind that you would even die for. And I have to admit that I've made 2 or 3 that are pretty close to that, but that is nowhere near what I want. I am a people person trapped in the body of a shy, socially awkward, quiet loner.

I hate sitting at home by myself listening to sad songs and willing the phone to ring (though I don't think very many people even have my phone number). I hate never going anywhere because I don't know where to go and I know that I'll be alone when I get there. I hate being alone in a crowded room. I hate standing in a room full of people having conversations with other people, often people that they barely know, and being the one that no one wants to talk to. I hate being so sad and lonely all the time. I hate the fact that most of the time when I do get hopeful and think I'm making a friend, it turns out that all I'm doing is imposing on the other person's limited hospitality, and when that runs out I get accused of being a stalker, freaking them out, being obsessed with them, the list goes on and on, and more than one person has done that to me. I hate the fact that I'm about to have to start working with one of those exact people on a project, and he is being so nice to me, like it never happened, like time really did heal all those wounds; and I am eating it up, and I am gonna fall hook line and sinker for the same trick again. But having a few months' worth of really good conversations feels so good. It's like a high I get from human contact.

I don't want attention, and I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I want people to take a genuine interest in me. I want people to want to hang out with me. I want friends like I had when I was in high school. I want somebody who has as much in common with me as Kristian and I used to before I met John and did a 180. I want somebody who knows me as well as Brittanie and I knew each other before she met Dusty, all but stopped talking to me, got pregnant, got married, etc. I want somebody who talks and laughs with me the way Samantha talked and laughed with me before she joined the millitary. I want somebody to be my big brother the way Eric was my big brother before we made the mistake of dating and ruining everything. I want somebody who enjoys spending time with me the way Holly and I used to before I graduated and we lost touch.

It's just so frustrating that I used to be able to make really good friends. It's also frustrating to think that I lost all of them. Not always by my own screw-ups, but enough that it makes me feel like crap. I just wish I could remember how I did it then.

Why do I love so hard? Do I smother people with caring? Is that it?

"Love ain't always a party." -Jonezetta in "Get Ready (Hot Machete)"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Testimony

My mom put me in Christian school from the very beginning (Kindergarten), where I learned about God and Jesus and Christianity. I memorized Bible verses, pledged to the Christian flag, and learned a million hymns and children's worship songs. But I never really understood it until I was 7. It was at Nazarene Elementary School (which doesn't even exist anymore) during Bible class on the day that we learned (which happened once a year) about the crucifixion. For some reason, it just hit me harder that day. And it was the fear of going to Hell that made me pray for salvation that night. I was so happy when I did!

I was 7 years old, and I considered myself a Christian until about 12 or 13. That's when I started public school. No matter what I did, I couldn't fit in. I didn't have friends for several months, and even then it wasn't the world's greatest/closest. By my freshman year of high school I had overcome my social awkwardness. I instantly got sucked into an older crowd along with a couple other freshman girls who turned out to be two of my best friends ever. I started doing everything I never should have done, and I forgot all about God. I started dating a junior who should have been a senior, and I had practically no boundaries. I didn't want to think at the time that I was naive, but I was. I was slightly more mature and responsible than my friends, however, as I watched them make mistakes that I managed to avoid. But I had really lost touch with God.

By the middle of my sophomore year, surrounded by the friends (and myriad of ex-boyfriends) I had made already in high school, I found myself inexplicably and inextractibly depressed. I would cry and cry and I felt like everyone hated me. The music I listened to, the poetry and stories I wrote, the TV I watched, and the company I kept didn't help that much. I felt like I wanted to die. I began self-injuring. (I know now that God wanted me to minister to those suffering from SI, but let's get back to the story for right now.) I didn't cut myself; I have qualms about that and mental...things...with it that I can't even put into words. I would instead starve myself, and suffocate myself with a pillow.

One night when things were especially bad I was sitting on the floor of my room with my back to my closet door and my knees to my chest just crying, when I FELT God. I just all of a sudden thought about Him, remembered my first salvation experience, remembered everything He did for me, and just FELT Him there. The way I remember it was that God just picked me up off the floor, because I remember being standing and not crying, but not how I got that way. A few days later I asked one of those same friends from freshman year if I could go to church with her (she had been going to Life because her boyfriend was, and he was going there because his mom was making him). She said yes, and I went to my first epiCENTER service all kinds of skeptic.

When I got there, I fell in love with it. I loved the upbeat worship music you could dance and jump to, and I equally loved the quiet worship music you could lift your hands to and get lost in God to. I loved the worship. I loved Trey's preaching. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. I loved the whole service from beginning to end. At the close, Trey said something that had been on my mind for a while: "If you died tonight, do you know where you would be going? If you don't, I want you to raise your hand." Those exact words, "Where will I go when I die?" had crossed my mind just the night before. I threw my hand up before I knew what hit me. One of those same friends from freshman year did it with me, though she unfortunately is not exactly living for God right now. Trey prayed for us, then he sent us in his office to be prayed for by Heather. I felt so good all over again! I had gotten saved again!

It wasn't long after that until I lost every friend I had. I became lonely again. When I got saved (the second time) I changed everything. I broke all my old CDs and started researching and buying Christian music that fit my taste. I stopped watching those TV shows, telling those jokes, doing those things, acting that way, talking that way. I became a completely different person. I began to encourage my friends to come with me, but none of them would. By the time I finished selling out to God, He was all I had. I had some friends at church, but they were more loose aquaintances than friendships, and it would seem today that none of them ever blossomed beyond that and no new ones ever formed. What an incredible test of faith it is when you first get saved and everything around you changes in reaction to the radical change that's happening in you.

To this day that situation has never really improved, but I've come through it. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the relationship I have with God Almighty, Creator of the Universe. I wouldn't let go of my personal, intimate friendship with Jesus Christ for anything in the world. I love Him with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength. No human friend could ever take His place.

And God is so good! He answers so many prayers! I prayed for a companion that would always be with me, that would be my future husband, that would be my one best friend; and God gave me Anthony within 3 weeks. God is so awesome! I am so happy to be His daughter! I am so happy to be going to Heaven! I can't wait for my streets of gold and my personal mansion, but most of all, I can't wait to see His face. I can only imagine, as the song goes, what that will be like.

Catch a revelation of God's glory! He is so awesome and He loves us all more than we can ever know!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Why I Left Alpha Gamma Delta

I signed up for Rush right after Southbound Orientation. I can't say why I wanted to sign up. I guess it's partially because I could and partially because nobody at the DJ pary talked to me except for a Pi Chi (Rush counselor), which automatically made me partial to Greek life. When the Pi Chi left and I noticed someone I looked up to in high school walking around in a "Great Women Go Greek" shirt, I decided to sign up. What's funny is that the Pi Chi and the high school friend are both in different sororities (Alpha Omicron Pi and Chi Omega, respectively), neither of which is Alpha Gamma Delta. I've also recently found out that there's a possibility I might have a legacy, also in a sorority other than Alpha Gamma Delta (Kappa Delta). Three different sororities that I might have pledged had I continued Rush.

But, I didn't continue Rush. I called my Pi Chi (haha, she's even in Phi Mu--meaning I had connections to all BUT Alpha Gamma Delta in Rush) the very first day of actual Rush (the day after the parent-daughter orientation) and dropped out. I blamed it on money and time (and little did I know how true that would become), but I can pin it to a subconscious reason that I believe led me to the decision. At the orientation we all went with our Pi Chis to separate rooms to get acquainted while Emily Ulmer talked to our parents. Well, we finished before they did, so we had to stand in the hallway outside of the Student Center Ballroom. They said we could talk quietly. So everyone immediately formed circles and pushed me against the wall. It's not like these people were previously friends or anything, they were introducing themselves to each other. And I couldn't get into any of the circles. I thought at that moment, "If this is how Greek life is gonna treat me, I'm not gonna pay extra for it. I got this kind of treatment in high school for free, and college won't be any different." I thought that would be the end of Greek life for me.

Then the Alpha Gams came. I got a call from the head Pi Chi on Bid Night saying that, even though I had dropped out, one sorority still wanted to meet me. I thought for sure it was my high school friend's sorority, so asked who it was, hopefully. "Alpha Gamma Delta," she said, and my heart sank. Not because I didn't love those girls (I didn't even know them then!), but because I felt so unloved. I declined and began searching the Alpha Gam member roster online to see if anyone knew me to want to meet me. I wondered why they still wanted me after I dropped out of Rush.

After that I started getting Facebook messages from Whitney (my sister-mother now), and friend requests from a couple members. They invited me to so many things, and for months and months something always came up to prevent me from coming. I think part of what made me want to meet them was the fact that they understood my persistent absence and still wanted to meet me.

Once I finally did get to meet them it took less than a month for me to pledge. Looking back on it, I have no idea what came over me when I agreed to pledge. About 12 hours before I said I would do it, I promised myself (and Anthony, who I happened to be talking to at the time) that I wouldn't do it, because I would just have to drop out if I did. I had decided that I was going to follow some advice that Whitney herself had given me: "If you can't come to all the events, just be our friend." But when they handed me that bid card and smiled at me with wide eyes in anticipation, I couldn't say "No thanks, guys, I just want to be friends." It would feel the same to me as having told Anthony no when he proposed. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and the love of the sisters is really what I was in it for to begin with. I don't think my heart was in the sorority itself, but in the people who belonged to it and the feeling of belonging. It wouldn't have been fair to the sisters if I wasn't willing to bring my full share to the table.

Time and money also really did play a factor. Unlike most of the girls that I've talked to in AGD, I pay for all but my car note. I pay my own tuition, my own books, my own fees, my own car insurance, my own gas, my own oil and tire changes, my own food, my own clothes, my own EVERYTHING except my car note (and I guess rent since I live with my parents). Most of the girls said "My parents pay everything," or "My parents pay for all but my sorority stuff," and other things like that. When you're not paying a bill I think you can lose touch with just how much it costs.

Luckily, I have a really good job that pays pretty decent money, and I'm doing what I love for 20 hours a week, Monday-Friday. The problem is, that conflicts with alot of sorority events, and work is not an excuse to miss them. So if I'm missing work to go to the events, I'm not making enough money to pay dues. If I skip the events to go to work, I get fined as much as if not more than what I just made working. So, catch-22, I didn't have the time or the money to continue pledgeship, much less continue on into initiation and full-time membership.

Then the whole study hours and Intramurals thing, gosh, don't get me started. Between church, homework, a fiance, chores, and parents that are somewhat reluctant to let me go out very often, I had enough going on after class as it was. There was really no way to do it. Let's just face it: I'm not (nor can I be) committed enough. I would LOVE, absolutely LOVE, to be an Alpha Gamma Delta sister, but it's just not happening for me.

I keep saying to myself and others, "I think I'll try to pledge again later," but I keep getting reminders of how impossible it is for me. I just hope that this time the reminders are louder, clearer, and more frequent than they were the last time I pledged. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings (including my own) again.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Praise You Through this Storm


My family is falling apart all around me. They are having affairs, harboring hate, breaking bonds, telling lies, changing the way things have always been, and leaving altogether. I hate being in my own house because of it. I get out as often as possible, to the point that I'm getting worried about the gas in my car. This is all ruining the happiness I should be feeling at the early part of my engagement, which my parents are suddenly against as well.

I was officially announced to the youth group tonight as a student leader, and all this is on my mind. I get to announce my small group either next Wednesday or the Wednesday after that, and all this is on my mind. I have to lead whoever signs up for my group, and I don't even know where I'm going myself.

I give up God. I can't take it anymore. I can't handle any of this. I give up on my family and hand them over to you. I am going to focus on my relationship with You, my relationship with Anthony, my new role as a student leader, and definitely my studies. A new semester starts on Monday, and my family is falling apart.

I am NOT going to let this affect my relationships, my responsibilities, or my grades. Lord, I don't know what to do to take care of them anymore, and the only advice I've gotten all around is to pray, so here I am. And I am officially giving up. They're Yours, and I trust You to do with them what is in Your Will.

Help me get through all this. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm at a loss. I'm numb.